Michael Christensen is a Certified Executive Chef with over 35 years in the restaurant industry.
During his professional career, Chef Mike has cooked at different casinos throughout the U.S. to include Minnesota, Las Vegas, Mississippi and New Mexico. He also interned at a three-star Inn in Austria. He has participated in many different food and international cooking competitions, and opened his own catering business being named the best wedding caterer in Albuquerque.
Chef Mike grew up in Chicago, IL and is part of the Lac du Flambeau tribe in Northern WI. He has fond memories visiting his grandparents in Canada and embracing their Native heritage. Chef Mike remembers helping his grandma make jellies and preserves, while his grandfather hunted and fished for their meals. Watching his family cook authentically and utilizing the resources of the land, sparked Chef Mike’s passion for culinary arts.
Chef Mike began his culinary career at the young age of 15. He worked for Byron’s Hot Dog in Chicago, IL, a famous area restaurant which has received many accolades throughout the years.
In 1991, he began working for the casino industry at Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley. He was with the company for 12 years. During this time, he drove nearly 200 miles each day to and from school in Minneapolis, where he worked hard to earn his Associates degree in Culinary Arts. Chef Mike’s dedication to succeed in school was recognized by Grand Casino Hinckley, who paid the tuition cost for the community college, and also encouraged him to attend The Culinary Institute of America. He graduated from the CIA in 1996, and then earned his Certified Executive Chef (CEC) Title 1999, through The American Culinary Federation.
After finishing school, Chef Mike helped to open the Stratosphere Casino in Las Vegas. He then moved to Mississippi and opened the Grand Casino Tunica. Chef Mike’s career then took him further south to Biloxi, where he worked at both the Grand Casino Biloxi and Grand Casino Gulfport.
Most recently, Chef Mike worked for the largest casino in the Albuquerque, Sandia Casino. For four years, he operated his own catering business specializing in off-premise events and was voted best wedding caterer of the city. A year later, he opened a bistro serving breakfast and lunch.
Over the years, Chef Mike has participated in many different food competitions and international competitions. He also interned in Austria in a three-star Inn for 30 days.
Chef Mike joined the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino team in 2017. Here he is responsible for overseeing the entire culinary and stewarding operations. He is happy to be back home after more than 20 years.
When he’s not in the kitchen, Chef Mike enjoys spending time with his two children, five grandchildren, and his wife who is his best friend. He also likes staying active by riding his bike, up to 15-20 miles a day, two to three times a week.